Lakers free agency watchlist
It is the eve of NBA free agency, as the negotiation period will begin at 3:00 pm Pacific Time on Friday. Rob Pelinka has reiterated the Lakers' plan to keep their core together and make upgrades around the edges that will fit Darvin Ham’s system.
Rob Pelinka said the Lakers are targeting tough, defensive-minded, selfless players in free agency. He echoed that the plan continues to be running it back with marginal upgrades.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) June 27, 2023
Names linked to the Lakers include: Brook Lopez, Bruce Brown, Cam Reddish, Eric Gordon, Shake Milton, Mason Plumlee, and Donte DiVincenzo.
Other options include: Jevon Carter, Yuta Watanabe, Dwight Powell, Seth Curry, Cory Joseph, Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes, Derrick Jones Jr, and Torrey Craig.
With all the options laid out, let’s break down what they would bring to the Lakers.
Mid-level exception candidates
Brook Lopez is the ideal free agent for LA to sign in free agency. Lopez was one of the leading candidates for the Defensive Player of the Year award this past season. He is also a great three-point shooting big man, as he shot 37.5% from three this season.
He is the perfect fit at center next to Anthony Davis. They can offer him the mid-level exception of $12.4 million per year, which is below his market value. He would have to take a pay cut to sign with LA.
Signing Lopez would give the Lakers the best frontcourt in basketball, with him alongside Davis and LeBron James.
BREAKING - The Lakers plan is to strongly pursue Bruce Brown Jr. and Brook Lopez when free agency opens tomorrow afternoon (@mcten).— Jake (@KingJakeVII) June 29, 2023
Another option for the mid-level exception is Bruce Brown. Brown was a pivotal part of the Denver Nuggets championship run and is a high-quality role player. It was reported the Lakers are confident they can land Brown in free agency.
He plays exceptionally well on both ends of the floor. He can play lockdown defense and had a career year, averaging 12/4/3 with 1.1 steals per game. Brown would be an excellent two-way wing to target, with the mid-level exception of $12.4 million annually.
Eric Gordon has been linked to the Lakers ahead of free agency. Gordon is a career 37.1% three-point shooter. The 34-year-old is a shooter and shot creator that would provide spacing if he signed with LA.
The Lakers are among the teams interested in Donte DiVincenzo this offseason. The 26-year-old guard averaged 9/5/4 with 1.3 steals per game. He shot 43.5% from the field and 39.7% from three.
He would fit well with his defense and his shooting. This is the ideal type of player to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with. He would also fit extremely well in Darvin Ham’s system. DiVincenzo spent three years with Ham with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Shake Milton, Jevon Carter, and Cory Joseph are three backup guards linked to the Lakers. Milton is a six-foot-five guard that can play point or shooting guard. He is a solid defensive guard and shooter that averaged 8/3/3, shooting 37.8% from deep. He would be a quality backup guard to target.
Carter is a similar backup guard option, though he would be a point guard, standing at 6-foot-1. He averaged 8/3/2, shooting 42.1% from behind the arc. His shooting and defense would give LA a solid guard option.
Joseph fits the same mold as the previous two guards. He averaged 7/2/4, shooting 38.9% from deep.
Seth Curry is a sharpshooter that LA could target at guard. He averaged 9/2/2, shooting 40.5% from downtown.
Those are the different guard options for the Lakers. Now let’s move on to forwards.
LA could target Cam Reddish as a young forward for more wing depth. As a depth forward, Reddish could be a good addition to LA. He averaged 10/2/1, shooting 44.6% and 31.3% from three.
The Lakers have a track record of helping young players hit the next level of their game on a one-year deal and helping them increase their value for the next free agency period, like Malik Monk and Lonnie Walker IV. Reddish could be a target on a cheap one-year deal for more forward depth.
From @jovanbuha on playback— Stone Hansen (@report_court) June 30, 2023
“A couple names I’ve heard linked to the Lakers are Cam Reddish and Yuta Watanabe”
Yuta Watanabe is a cheap forward-depth option for LA. Watanabe is a great three-point shooter who shot 44.4% from that range. If Pelinka wants to add another shooter and more depth at forward, Watanabe is an option.
Torrey Craig is a quality three-and-d veteran forward. Craig is a good defender that averaged 7/5/2, shooting 39.5% from downtown. The 32-year-old would be good forward depth for the Lakers.
Taurean Prince is a great option for forward depth. Prince is a solid defender that averaged 9/2/2, shooting 38.1% from behind the arc. He would be an excellent addition.
Derrick Jones Jr is another option for LA to consider. He is not a great shooter, but a good defender and lob threat. Jones Jr will be a good forward pickup if the Lakers want a defender and lob threat.
Mason Plumlee is one of the best centers on the market. He would be an upgrade at backup center and play well behind Davis. Plumlee averaged 11/9/3, shooting 68%. If LA misses out on Lopez, Plumlee would be a good center to target.
Free agents— 🏆LakersGuru🏆 (@GuruLakers) June 25, 2023
If looking to improve the center rotation through FA this is the realistic list
Trade list coming…🔜 https://t.co/78VYZiOJ5r
Dwight Powell is another option for a depth center. He averaged 7/4/1, shooting 73.2%. Powell is an efficient big that could be a decent backup.
Jaxson Hayes is a young center LA could take a chance on. Hayes averaged 5/3/1 and ideally could play a JaVale McGee-type role from the 2020 season.
The Lakers have plenty of options in free agency, and it will be interesting to see how Pelinka fills out the roster. Lopez and Brown should be at the top of the list outside of re-signing Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura.
*All statistics provided by Basketball Reference